Nonprofit Seeking Corruption Charges Against Arizona Regulator Bitter Smith

By Will Stone
Published: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - 5:39pm
Updated: Thursday, November 5, 2015 - 9:51am
(Photo via
Susan Bitter Smith resigned from the Arizona Corporation Commission amid accusations of conflict of interest.

A nonprofit group is seeking corruption charges against Arizona Corporation Commissioner Susan Bitter Smith for her lobbying ties to an industry she regulates. Public Integrity Alliance is expected to file the complaint with the Department of Justice on Thursday.

Unlike the previous complaints filed with the state, this one cites federal law and alleges Bitter Smith’s role as head of a cable industry trade group and registered lobbyist amount to what’s known as Honest Service Fraud. The same law was used to prosecute former Congressman Rick Renzi in 2013.

Bitter Smith has faced mounting scrutiny since KJZZ first reported on her possible conflict of interest in August. Local attorney Tom Ryan then filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office seeking her removal.

The commissioner has said there’s no basis for the complaint and does not lobby for any companies she regulates.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story and headline were updated to reflect that Public Integrity Alliance is seeking corruption charges.

Updated 11/5/215 at 9:49 a.m.